January 27, 2022, by Leah Sharpe
How I Secured Work in the UK as an International Student
By Carlos Sanders Velez, Junior Medical Writer at McCann Health London
My name is Carlos Sanders Velez, an international student, and I am currently working part-time as a Junior Medical Writer at McCann Health London.
My current role involves the careful review of science manuscripts and adapting messages for the specific audience (it can be healthcare professionals, general public, or even patients). I work in a multidisciplinary team that involves designers, marketing experts, programmers, and in some projects even film makers.
How did I get this role?
I have a very broad scientific background. I studied a medical degree at Universidad Panamericana that fully qualified me as a GP in Mexico. I even practiced for a couple of years! Then I got bitten by the research bug which led me to do a masters in science at the University of Glasgow, and eventually start a PhD in Pharmacy at the University of Nottingham.
I handed in my PhD thesis back in July 2021, and just recently had my viva. So, I am currently working towards the corrections of my thesis and working part time. Once my PhD officially gets awarded, I will be applying to the graduate route visa. It is a great relief that in my case, the company I work with will upgrade my contract to full-time once this happens.
I suggest keeping your CV simple and easy to read. Keep in mind having an extra pair of experienced eyes will be extremely helpful for any career choice. Getting my current role as an international student required some advice from the Careers team. I can’t recommend this service enough, and you should talk to them often regarding any career choice you want to take.
Honesty and good communication
Keep communication clear with your potential employer and do not shy away from your student immigration status. Employers like honesty, and in some cases they are actually aware about the graduate immigration route as a work visa. If they are not aware, do mention it!
Don’t be afraid of rejection
I started to look for a full-time job back in August 2021, and I was not offered a position until late September. Each application is a learning experience. It is not about the number of rejections, it is all about that job offer you can get. When the job offer comes, often you may need to enter some negotiations. In my case, we considered the benefits of being employed first part time and then upgraded to full time as a great solution for us. That may change between employers, which is why you need to always keep communications clear with your future employer.
Overall, I would say that the degree you will obtain from university is a gate opener to the world. Always keep your eyes open for potential jobs, and do not be afraid to send an email to a potential employer. Most often than not, they like proactive people. Remember that any job is also supposed to make you happy. Always aim for a role that will make you feel fulfilled as a person and as a professional.
Are you planning to work in the UK either during your studies or after graduation? Take a look at our Working in the UK webpages for available options, advice and support.
If you’re a science student looking at career options beyond the lab, explore alternative careers for scientists.
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